You can’t heal stupidity!

You have to feel sorry for overgeared healers sometimes. Trotting along behind the group, with a DS in one hand (thank you Professor Layton, rescuer of dull instance runs) and the other lazily tapping out the equivalent of Bach’s 4th Brandenburg Concerto on their healing buttons – looking up occasionally to check which instance they are in and to hit need on any shards.

It isn’t surprising that many entertain themselves by rescuing foolish tanks and dps from the results of their own stupidity.

Stood in the fire again? Yawn, no problem. In fact, I saw that one coming so I had a heal preloaded. That’s how good I am.

Others make up their own sets of rules – eg. always res the gnomes first, don’t heal people who refused to run back after a wipe, see if you can play chicken with the tank if they didn’t stop long enough for you to drink, and so on. It will usually involve something really arbitrary, or some healy way to punish people who are playing the game ‘wrong’.

In fact, one thing healers don’t tell you is that they all have their own version of The Rules. It’s like having your own little version of Miss Manners along for the ride. And for extra spice, most healers won’t actually tell you in advance what their rules are. Now I say this with all consideration to healers. Because I play one also and I also have my own set of secret rules which lucky group mates have to figure out for themselves.

I don’t care if people don’t run back after a wipe, I’ll let the group know if I need to drink and then run and catch up as best I can if they don’t slow down, none of those things bother me on my tree druid. But I don’t heal stupid.

Oh, let the healers with the strong work ethic, the ones who really LIVE the healer role, pull off those legendary saves where no one else bothered to read the tactics and they all stood in the fire. I’ll laugh as you die and I’ll even laugh as I do if it was all down to stupidity. (Of course, I’ll explain the fight in advance if people mention that they aren’t familiar with it too, I’m not that lazy.) But if you dare to complain to me about your death, I will simply tell you that I don’t heal stupid.

This was brought to mind the other day when I was healing a run through the Halls of Lightning. We had two suicidal rogues in the group. They ran ahead and pulled trash groups. They died. They got too close to the pack of slag elementals (I did not make up that mob name, by the way). They died in the explosion. They didn’t get out of the way of Ionar’s disperse. Guess what, they died. And every time, I laughed and ressed them after the rest of us had finished clearing the mobs.

And you know what? No one complained. They were too busy laughing at each other, or being mocked genially by the tank. It was one of the more good natured runs I’ve been on recently. Because not only do I not heal stupid, sensible players understand that if they’re living on the edge and doing daft things, they won’t get healed. I think of it as darwinism in action – plus, if you never died when you did something risky in a game, life would be so dull.

I don’t think I was ever really cut out to be a career healer, you see. I’d be more like that healer girl in Guild Wars who keeps yelling at you not to be a wimp and go kill more stuff, because she’s got your back. But I bet she doesn’t heal stupid either.

So, if you heal in MMOs. Do you have a version of The Rules? Do you tell the group or just let them find out?

42 thoughts on “You can’t heal stupidity!

  1. > Stood in the fire again? Yawn, no problem. In fact, I
    > saw that one coming so I had a heal preloaded. That’s
    > how good I am.

    I love stupid. It's the last challenge left as a healer in heroics… there is no fire hot enough in WotLK to be even remotely as dangerous as any single trash mob in TBC heroics. 🙂

  2. I adapt my healling to the amount of stupidity presented.
    Levels of healing are: Heal > Full-Hot > Single-Hot > OoC-Heal > Rezz.
    For aggro the starting level is Heal, for standing in things the level is Full-Hot. Each unnessecary damage degrades the level by one.

  3. I have my own set of rules. Not sure I’ve completely defined them yet, but since my main is a tank, I have very low tolerance for stupid dps. Newbs, inexperienced players I can work with, no problem – as long as they’re willing to listen.

    But the player who stands in the beam in Halls of Stone because “I figured you were good enough to heal through it”. Um. I don’t heal stupid either.

  4. My rule is simple :

    I won’t heal you at the expense of someone else in the group.

    I’ll try to keep you up, even if you play stupid, BUT if at some point someone else requires a heal (even a single flash of light) they will get priority even if that means your death.

    For rezzes, if I die and it wasn’t my fault, everyone runs back, else I’ll rez.

  5. I have yet to go down the “let them die” route on my main, a Disc Priest. I just cannot let people die if there is anything I can do about it. However, if the tank is taking a buttload of damage you can bet I’ll be healing him while you stand in the poison/whirlwind etc… I am getting to the stage through where people may soon die. If they stand in some damaging effect I will wait for them to get low on health in the vain hope they might see their legs melting or something and then decide to move. Sadly, this hasn’t happened, they all stand in the damage waiting to be healed. Perhaps I need to be harsher.

  6. WoW. I want to grow up to a big, strong tree like you one day. Currently I can’t rid myself the feeling of being resposible for absolutely everything and feeling guilt over every single death, no matter of the level of stupidity the party has show… I guess it comes with experience.

    And forgive a noob question: what’s a DS? I’ve apparently missed something in my healer education.

    • Haha, Nintendo DS. How I had to google that up myself, too. :-p

      There is another reason to heal stupid. It makes this very run you’re in faster and you waste less time till you get your badges.

    • See, what you do is right (aside from the feeling guilty, you shouldn’t worry about that) and what I do is wrong 🙂

      But in some ways I’m envious because you’re at the fun part of playing a healer which is where you’re still learning all the ins and outs. Still working out what’s reasonable and what isn’t, and how you can handle all the different crazy situations that can come up when you’re healing.

      I’m not saying that I’m some kind of master-druid, she’s just my favourite alt, but I’m pretty confident with healing now, and very overgeared for heroics. I think you’ll be an awesome healer, and maybe this time next year, you will be the one laying down the rules to your groups! 🙂

    • The reason not to heal stupid even if it costs time is hope.
      The hope, that they get the hint, spread the word and darwin takes care of the rest. But x-server-instances make sure I almost never see one of them again. ;(

  7. The only problem reoccuring problem I have is with warlocks. Who lifetap to 10% health and expect , don’t even ask, to be healed. So I used to heal and get into arguments with them. Now I dont heal them unless they take direct damage or my mana is nearly full. They seem to take umbrage when I say I have to buy water and drink why shouldnt they!

    • Hm. 2 x lifetap = 1 blooming life.
      1 trinket /w chance to lower costs of spells by 800 + blooming life granting mana on expiry -> good chance, I GET mana from healing even warlocks.

    • I feel both sides of this, since my main is a Lock but my oldest character is a Resto Shaman.

      I don’t like to have to depend on healers for mana, but most of the time if I am on my lock and I ask the tank to stop, I get; “Life Tap.” To which I usually reply; “O Rly?” If I don’t have time to drink I probably don’t have time to explain to their ADHD mind that the mana has to come from SOMEWHERE, and if I keep life tapping, I may run YOUR healer out of mana.

      As for the Shaman point of view, I HoT Locks when they Life Tap, and wish them luck. If they need more than that they probably aren’t paying attention to their own mana.

  8. – I don’t heal stupid. My biggest grief is that it takes a lot of stupidity to kill a DK
    – In case of a wipe, everyone runs
    – If you give me or the tank shit expect my reflexes just a little bit less fast than usual when it comes to saving you
    – If I see FrostResist in your gear, expect a Kickvote
    – You have three tries per boss. Exceed that limit and I’m gone.
    – If you pull and you are not the tank, don’t expect a single heal from me. Afterwords I will tell you to stop that. If you do it again and actually survive it you get a kickvote, if you don’t survive it you get a laugh 😉

    Other than that I have no further rules. I don’t complain about tanks in leveling gear in normal heroics or something.. I’m good enough to keep those alive. I also don’t explain those rules beforehand because I think you won’t collide with them if you are no douchebag.

    • “I also don’t explain those rules beforehand because I think you won’t collide with them if you are no douchebag.”

      It’s like dating in that respect.

  9. My guildleader’s main is a resto shaman, and she plays “strip pugging”, where every time someone in her group does something stupid – from standing in a fire to showing up ungemmed to spelling “you” as “u” – she takes off a piece of gear. She’s finished more than one instance in nothing but a tabard.

  10. If you die of stupid and I didn’t warn you … I’ll get u back up and let you know you used up your one Stupid is a Stupid does card for the run. If you die after I warned you, you can fulfill your roll of Forrest Gump and run back.

    Limbo: how low can I let the DPS go before popping a holy shock on them. I love seeing the OMG HEAL ME HEAL ME when they realize it and enjoy imagining them looking around the keyboard for the oh shit IceBlock button.

  11. As Kring said: I love any challenge I can get. The stupider the players the bigger the fun I’m getting, popping cooldowns and timing heals to keep everyone live.

    It’s fun!

    Same goes when I tank.

    (p.s. ofc if the group fails too hard, I leave)

    • It’s harder when you tank as you depend on the healer. Because if you try to make up for “stupidity” of the dps and the healer likes to teach the dps a lesson, you’re normally the first to die.

      Otherwise, I agree. DD that aren’t pulling aggro from time to time are not fighting at the limit. This is not level 60 Onyxia. Taunt has an absurd small cooldown. Not using taunt is like not using any other tank spell.

  12. Apparently you can:

    I have CoH characters with /Empathy or /Pain secondaries. I don’t slot resurrect for recharge rate, on the grounds that if people are dying faster than I can bring them back we’re probably doing something wrong. I have no problem healing aggressive or even reckless PCs, as long as they show at least some tactical sense. I have withdrawn medical support from suicide-by-mob repeat offenders in the past though. It’s for their own good. Tough love, that’s the way.

  13. Now that made me smile and its all true!

    I was thinking ‘I dont have a rule set!’ and then I realised :- Yes I do.

    I only heal tanks I know. I dont mind PuGing the rest of the group but I’ve only healed tanks I know and have worked with before (even if their mains spec is DPS or its the alt of someone I know). This isnt down to bad PuG experiences….I alllmost wish it was…but just how things have happened over time.

    In a way I guess I should feel guilty that I’m depriving the LFG a pretty well geared healer but given that I have so many good tanks on my friends/guild/pact list …I dont.

  14. As a tank I also have my secret rules. Like you I will challenge myself sometime to save stupid dps who pull ahead but most of the time I just stand there, wait for them to die and then pick up the mobs

    • “Like you I will challenge myself sometime to save stupid dps who pull ahead but most of the time I just stand there, wait for them to die and then pick up the mobs”

      Actually, I believe that’s the preferred behavior. As a ‘kin, I’ll pull trash dps when I can offtank them, just for good practice, though I wouldn’t want a squishy trying it. Certainly for boomkin, a quick /ignore is appropriate. They can heal themselves.

      “see if you can play chicken with the tank if they didn’t stop long enough for you to drink”

      I completely understand this move. As an oomkin, one of my challenges is finding good places to drink for a [literal] second or two here or there, but often I’ll catch the healer taking a knee at the same time. I don’t understand how so many tanks completely ignore that the priest/tree/pally is thirsty and go ahead and pull the entire First World.

      Though I realize my attitude is largely because of the role I play [1], if there’s one position that deserves your respect, it’s a good healer.

      [1] That role, as boomkin dps, is that I’m the healer’s healer. I always keep an eye on the main healer to throw an Innervate, or to off-heal them if a sketchy tank loses aggro, or to pop Tranquility if everything’s gone to pot. I also don’t really care if a bad tank loses aggro from my dps on trash; as a moonkin, I can handle it. (And yes, I usually throw Faerie Fire and IS after MF to give the tank time to build threat.)

  15. @ Hatch:

    I am tempted to steal that rule for my tank. With they quality of stupid I’ve been running into lately I’d be saving massive amounts on repair bills 🙂

  16. I don’t play a tank, but I sometimes have to in LOTRO. I also don’t play a healer, as it bothers me a lot when people die because I failed or they are too dumb.

    The thing about being a DPS player is that you are just one of many. So you have to be good, you have to adapt, you will have to behave or you are on a one-time run with other players.

    I cannot help, but when healers and tanks are too much aware of their elevated role in the trinity they can get away with their “games”. They were not always as educational as your “rules”, they were often patronizing and arrogant. LOTRO healers seem to be really busy with healing, probably the reason why I have not had cases of them playing such games at all.

  17. I’ve just started healing again (levelling druid alt). I used to MH in MC, BWL, AQ40. I love druid healing. I wonder what my secret rules are; I’m sure I’ve got some.

    I’m going to be thinking about this now, next time. Great post.

  18. I only started healing recently on my shaman (less than a month ago), and my main objective has been simply to not be “the sucky healer”, something that has proven hilariously easy in the “old” heroics (earth shield on tank /afk), and perfectly challenging in the “new” ones.

    I guess this means it’s time to actually start thinking like a “proper” healer, but my four years as hunter have pretty much pushed the “do your stuff and shut up unless you know the people” attitude on me from every angle. Pre-DKs being a hunter really meant you needed to prove yourself, since heroics actually required CC and being a hunter who knew how to trap would get you lots of brownie points.

    That’s rather interesting now that I think of it, usually I hear about healers/tanks taking heed of their wisdom from their main role when DPSing, with me it’s the other way round.

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  20. My policy is the job is not to heal The Instance but to heal These Guys Through The Instance.

    but hmm I like the Darwinism concept…

    Oh my god! My selfish desire to keep stupid alive is a part of the problem not part of the solution.

    Right that’s it! I’m not a healer anymore, I’m an educator.

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  22. My shaman pops Heroism ‘accidentally’ in the middle of a trash pull if the group is particularly rude or ‘stoopid’, so if you’ve ever experienced this and your healer says ‘oopsy’ you’ll know why!

    I love the strip pugging idea *borrowed*

  23. A few minutes ago I had the “luck” of getting 3 fail dps (in fact, 4 due to one DC in the middle of the run).

    Luckly the tank was pretty top notch, so our h-PoS was still completed within 40 minutes, but gosh, have you even spent 10 minutes in the gauntlet at the middle, waiting for 2 morron dps that didn’t get the “no dps until middle” part ? They waiting for us to drop OOC so that we could rez them (either me or the tank). After 5 minutes of arguing they finally got the “we’re stucked in combat as long as we’re here part” and released / run back. Heck, one even argued that I should DI the tank so he could rez all of us…

    Fail an lazy dps, I tell you.

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  25. I have a friend that plays a Tree Healer and if someone pulls too much agro from the boss, he will heal them the first couple of times but after that, they pretty much die if they continue on their path to destruction. He does this because he has a high end rogue and knows they are being stupid.

    The other sad thing is he will usually surf on his laptop while healing on his desktop, because he is soo bored while healing.

    So I can confirm all statements listed in your post. lol Healers are bored and they don’t heal stupid

  26. If you pull aggro from or BEFORE the tank, your bar will somehow vanish from my HealBot. You do not get to decide unilaterally that you are an off tank.

    If you don’t move from something that is clearly bad (eye beams in HoS, gaping death void pits in HoL or Drak) I’ll rez you later.

    If you yell or treat me or the tank like crap after I rez you and explain, “no I’m not a shitty healer I let you die because…” AND you don’t alter your behaviour, prepare to do a whole instance with your bandages on a macro. Trying to bully someone into healing you is probably not in your best interests. The same reason you treat your wait staff at restaurants nicely.

    While I haven’t yet done what someone else above commented on and refused healing for bad grammar or spelling, if you have an absolutely asinine or juvenile name I may just decide you’re an imp and figure you’re the warlock’s problem.

  27. In my long career if playing healers I always considered healing DPS as optional. I stick to the old rules. If the tank dies, it’s the healers fault. If the healer dies, it’s the tanks fault. If somebody else dies, it’s their own fault.

    And I always liked situations when I could quote my wise cleric teacher.: “It was more mana efficient for me to rezz you than to heal you.”

  28. I have both and tank and healer, I live by simple rules, you pull it you tank it for the obvious (unless it was a genuine mistake!)

    Healing I will tolerate mild stupidity until it is clear this person has decided they will single handedly accelerate the speed of the the instance by being a ninja puller, when that happens they die. If I see WTF healer I just ignore them, they tend to figure it out pretty quick from there.


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